Jeremy Lin delivered his best postseason performance of his career on Wednesday after dropping 21 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds to help the Houston Rockets stave off elimination with a 108-98 win over the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 5 of their Western Conference playoff series.
Lin, who averaged just under nine points, four rebounds and four assists per game in the first four games of the series, came alive offensively as he shot 9-for-15 from the field and 2-for-5 from the three-point line in 31 minutes of action.
Head coach Kevin McHale also credited the Asian-American star for breaking down the Blazers' defensive pressure, as Lin's relentless penetration really opened the lane for his team in the match.
"He was able to break people down, made a couple floaters," McHale said at the post-game press conference. "When they're putting that much pressure on us, it's really hard to run an offense. You really have to break people down."
Lin Holds The Key To The Series
With his future with the Rockets uncertain, Lin has a chance to prove he's still part of the team's success despite struggling throughout the regular-season and early in the playoff series.
Lin's tendency to commit turnovers and questionable decisions late in the game made him the subject of criticism from several basketball pundits, who believed McHale should start benching the former Harvard hot-shot and instead give more playing time to rookie gunner Troy Daniels.
The Rockets point guard admitted that his huge miscue in Game 4 really bothered him a lot, that's why he tried to get some sort of redemption by playing more aggressive on Wednesday.
"I think Game 4 was definitely a rough one," Lin said in an interview with Oregon Live. "I didn't really sleep much that night. Just tried to come out and try to be as aggressive as I could be.
Lin's breakout game in Game 5 could be vital for the Rockets in their attempt to mount a comeback from a 1-3 hole.
Houston's starters Dwight Howards, James Harden and Chandler Parsons are all expected to do their job, but Lin must also come up with the same aggressive approach on the offensive end to give the Rockets an X-Factor in the series.
With all the struggles and the disappointment that happened this season, Lin has the opportunity to silence his detractors by keying what could be the Rockets' epic come-from-behind win over the bludgeoning Trail Blazers.